Sometimes, I really loathe writing. I tend to cycle through insufferable stages of insecurity. Typically, this downward spiral that tests the strength of my sanity begins when I feel like I have no idea of what I want to say.
There is nothing more terrifying to a writer than the realization, “I lost my voice. I have nothing to say.”
There are days in which writing becomes so tediously overwhelming that I end up questioning my talent to such a degree that I teeter on the edge of an extensional crisis. I welcome the thought of the friendly medical assistants bringing me the tight white coat of safety.
Before I allow myself to succumb to the blissful thoughts of padded rooms and happy pills I remember what Dr. Blumner has said, “There is no such thing as writer’s block, only idea block.”
Since my ideas are as constipated as an old woman haven eaten a pound of cheese—and my over-reaching obscure metaphors an indication of my attempt then failure in finding a good idea—then what in the hell am I to do with that information?
I guess I will talk to someone about my writing woes because, as Dr. Blumner has taught me, writing is a collaborative experience.
And so begins my trip out of the metaphorical psychiatric ward because, as I talk to others about my writing distress, I learn that I am not the only writer who suffers from these maddening, devastating, and dreadful feelings of missing voice and lack of ideas. In speaking with my peers and mentors—and even the developmental writing students I work with—I have found that the conversation about writing is often more important to the process of writing than the actual act of writing words on a page.
As I learn through conversation and discussion with others of their irritations, failures, and success that they experience with their writing, I discover that I am not alone in the torment of committing words to a page. There is a sense of solidarity in misery. By suffering together we succeed together. Or, at the very least, we feel better for having bitched to each other about our writing problems.
The conversation about the collaborative aspect to the writing process—in this case bitching about how much writing can suck the meaning of life out of us—is a means to overcome idea block. As writers, it is when we rally together to talk about writing that we find we never had a loss of idea in the first place.
The conversation about writing is one of many ways in which we allow new ideas to form.
There is camaraderie in knowing that I do not suffer alone and this type of conversation reminds me that I never write alone. And, it is always a comfort to know that my fellow writers will be content to share their padded rooms and happy pills with me.